Which States Have the Most Gun Owners?

Firearm ownership is somewhat uniquely American. Of course, citizens of other countries own firearms. However, firearms have played a critical role in America throughout every period in our country's history.

America tops the list —

According to a 2017 ‘Small Arms Survey,' America boasted 120.5 per 1,000 citizens. That works out to roughly 200 to 250 million firearms. Unfortunately, we can't know the exact number because not all states require gun registration.

Second place was the Falkland Islands at 62.1 per 1,000 citizens. Of course, that is is a skewed number, as the Falkland Islands population is probably around 3,000. Anyhow, you get the point, Americans own lots of guns.

But when it comes to our country, which states are top of the list in gun ownership? By taking the tada gathered by Pew Pew Research Center, we can rank the states by the percentage of guns owned based on population.

Ranking the U.S. by region–

Remember, these percentages reflect the percentage of adults who own a firearm based on the state's (or region's in this case) population.

  1. Southern States — 36%
  2. Midwestern — >30%
  3. Western States — >30%
  4. Northeastern States — 16%

States with the highest percentage of gun owners —

  1. Montana  — 66.30%
  2. Wyoming — 66.20%
  3. Alaska — 64.50%
  4. Idaho — 60.10%
  5. West Virginia — 58.50%
  6. Arkansas — 57.20%
  7. Mississippi — 55.80%
  8. Alabama– 55.50%
  9. South Dakota — 55.30%
  10. North Dakota — 55.10%

States with the lowest percentage of gun owners —

  1. Massachusetts — 14.7%
  2. New Jersey — 14.70%
  3. Rhode Island — 14.80%
  4. Hawaii — 14.90%
  5. New York — 19.90%
  6. Connecticut — 23.60%
  7. Illinois — 27.80%
  8. California — 28.30%
  9. Maryland — 30.20%
  10. Delaware — 34.40%

If you live in one of the 30 states that didn't make the top 10 or bottom 10 on the list, here is a screenshot of the graph from the actual report.

state gun ownership

Finally —

If you would like to read the full report, which includes more data like projected trends in state gun ownership, you can view it by clicking here.

The numbers seem to bust a few strongly held misconceptions about guns.

First, that everyone in Texas owns a gun. That is factually incorrect, as Texas ranked 27th.

Next, is that more gun ownership always equals less crime. Mississippi and Alabama are ranked 1 and 3 for homicide rates. This isn't to suggest that gun ownership doesn't deter crime, just that there is a multitude of factors that drive the crime rate in any given location. Gun ownership or restrictive gun laws are not the sole determinate.

Gun ownership rates vary across the country, and so do gun laws. So if you travel with your firearm and want to remain law-abiding, you need to know and understand that state's gun laws.

Here is a perfect time to remind you about the best legal resource that you can use to determine any state's firearm laws, and much, much more. Our App called Concealed Carry Gun Tools provides legal information for every state and DC.

The App is available for Android and iPhone and is FREE.


About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.


  1. Amber Puckett on December 22, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    2017 is a little late. How about an update to the new #’s.

  2. Bruce on December 22, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    A look at the lowest 10 states shows that “Gun Control Works”. By that, I mean that unconstitutional laws have had the effect of reducing gun ownership, which is the real goal of the gun control activists. It’s not about safety……

    • Ronald on December 22, 2021 at 9:18 pm

      Gun control in California still leaves them with 6.8 million gun owners. More than probably 5 of the top ten combined. These numbers are seriously skewed!! They are percentage of State population that own guns.
      Title and figures are very misleading.

  3. Ronald on December 22, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    All of the Top 10 States have a total of 6,463,699 gun owners.
    Number 27 Texas has 6,403,728 by itself.
    Number 43 California has 6,626,798 alone. More than ALL the Top 10 States.
    Even New Jersey has 886,921. More than the Top 3 States combined.
    These figures are approximate. Based on Total adult population over 21 from 2010 Census data.
    Charts and Graphs can be misleading.
    Don’t believe everything you hear.

  4. BillinAR on December 23, 2021 at 12:33 am

    Everyone in my household has access to multiple guns. I don’t speak for my neighbors.
    (ps – I live alone)

  5. Roger Metzger on November 24, 2022 at 3:44 pm

    Fortunately, we don’t know the exact number because not all states require gun registration.

  6. Dan Pearson on February 14, 2023 at 8:31 am

    The atf lists calif as 4th most gun registrations in US in 2020. It also has one of largest amount of NFA items in US.
    Why so much conflicting info between ATF and anti gunners? God created men colonal Colt made them equal.

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